Modular construction isnt new, but robots are making it more efficient than ever while addressing a labor shortage. Bringing robotics into the equation allows more parts of the building process to happen in customized facilities.
From Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering at ETH Zurich:
The Aerial Construction project is a collaboration between the Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control and the Chair of Architecture and Digital Fabrication. The objective is to investigate and develop methods and techniques for robotic aerial construction... ( project homepage )
The ST Robotics Workspace Sentry robot and area safety system are based on a small module that sends an infrared beam across the workspace. If the user puts his hand (or any other object) in the workspace, the robot stops using programmable emergency deceleration. Each module has three beams at different angles and the distance a beam reaches is adjustable. Two or more modules can be daisy chained to watch a wider area. "A robot that is tuned to stop on impact may not be safe. Robots where the trip torque can be set at low thresholds are too slow for any practical industrial application. The best system is where the work area has proximity detectors so the robot stops before impact and that is the approach ST Robotics has taken," states President and CEO of ST Robotics David Sands.